More Fun With Useless Online Tests: Optimal Sleep Edition

October 4, 2012
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My schedule this time of year sucks. I have to wake up early several days a week to train for this marathon, and I’m not happy about it. It’s impeding on my social life. I can’t drink. I can’t hang out late into the night. I constantly have to remember that I need to be awake and functional four or five days a week when I’m running. Then there’s eight hours of work to take into consideration. Sometimes I’m up at 6am, running ten, fifteen or twenty miles, only to spend the next eight hours on my feet doing my job. It can get kind of frustrating. The worst part is having to ensure that I get enough rest the night before. A few times during the first 10 weeks of this marathon training program I have found myself a complete zombie at work: unable to focus, barely keeping my eyes open…sometimes I just want to put my head down on my desk and nap. More than a reasonable amount of time each day is spent calculating potential hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep and enough food have become the two predominant thoughts I have each day. It’s horrible.

Lucky for me, Lifehacker ran an article today about something called the “Morningness/Eveningness Questionaire.” It’s supposed to help you figure out your ideal bedtime. Maybe this is what I need to help me figure out once and for all what the hell I need to do to rest my body the proper amount during training. Let’s take the quiz together.

1. Approximately what time would you get up if you were entirely free to plan your day? My answer: 3. Is this taking into account my work schedule? Because if I was free to do what I want, I’d pick 2. I like 9:15 as a solid wakeup time. Of course if I have to run first — no matter what the distance — I need to be up earlier. I can wake up at 8am and run four miles and still have enough time to cool-down, shower, eat, and get to work. Longer distances than that and we’d be talking answer 4.

2. Approximately what time would you go to bed if you were entirely free to plan your evening? My answer: 2. I’m a nighthawk. I just got home from this art exhibit opening (you should go see it!) about thirty minutes ago and I’m just sitting down to blog. I haven’t had a chance to read the news or catch up on e-mail or anything. It’ll be at least 12:30am before all this is finished. Of course, on Friday nights when I know I have to run long distances in the morning I might be in bed by 10:30pm. So that would be answer 3. I’ll go with 4 for right now, but it’s a cautious 4.

3. If you usually have to get up at a specific time in the morning, how much do you depend on an alarm clock? My answer: 1. My body naturally wakes up at around the same time every day now, but on running mornings I definitely rely on the alarm clock.

4. How easy do you find it to get up in the morning (when you are not awakened unexpectedly)? My answer: 3. It takes me about 30-45 minutes from the time I can wake up until the time I can run any distance, from 4 miles to 20 miles. I don’t know if that’s a lot of time or a little time. If it’s a non-running day and I wake up, I can be out of bed starting my morning routine within ten or fifteen minutes. If I’m hungover, forget about it. I’m done. I’ll just go stand in the shower with my hands on my knees sobbing for an hour and show up to work late.

5. How alert do you feel during the first half hour after you wake up in the morning? My answer: 3, Fairly alert. I think I just answered this question above.

6. How hungry do you feel during the first half hour after you wake up? My answer: 1. I don’t really get hungry until I’ve been awake for a couple hours.

7. During the first half hour after you wake up in the morning, how do you feel? My answer: 2. Didn’t I kind of answer this question? I’m kind of in between a 2 and a 3. I’m fairly tired but also fairly refreshed if I’ve gotten a lot of sleep.

8. If you had no commitments the next day, what time would you go to bed compared to your usual bedtime? My answer: 2. I’d probably be up an extra hour or two reading, watching a movie, trolling E-list celebrity Twitter feeds, etc.

9. You have decided to do physical exercise. A friend suggests that you do this for one hour twice a week, and the best time for him is between 7-8 AM. Bearing in mind nothing but your own internal clock, how do you think you would perform? My answer: 3. I have no problem waking up at 6am and ripping a 15 mile run and doing well. It’s not my favorite thing in the world to do, but I get it done. I imagine “doing physical exercise” with “a friend” would be no different.

10. At approximately what time in the evening do you feel tired, and, as a result, in need of sleep? My answer: 2. That’s 12:45 AM – 2:00 AM.

11. You want to be at your peak performance for a test that you know is going to be mentally exhausting and will last two hours. You are entirely free to plan your day. Considering only your internal clock, which one of the four testing times would you choose? My answer: 4. 11 AM – 1 PM.

12. If you got into bed at 11 PM, how tired would you be? My answer 2. A little tired. Not much. If I forced myself to go to sleep I would, but in all likelihood I’d be up for at least another hour watching TV.

Is this thing done yet? Jeeeez.

13. For some reason you have gone to bed several hours later than usual, but there is no need to get up at any particular time the next morning. Which one of the following are you most likely to do? My answer: 3. Will wake up at usual time and will doze thereafter.

14. One night you have to remain awake between 4-6 AM in order to carry out a night watch (HA!). You have no time commitments the next day. Which one of the alternatives would suit you best? My answer: 1. Would not go to bed until the watch is over.

15. You have two hours of hard physical work. You are entirely free to plan your day. Considering only your internal “clock” which of the following times would you choose? I guess this means to do the hard physical work? My answer: 3. 11 AM – 1 PM.

16. You have decided to do physical exercise (again!? UGH!). A friend suggests that you do this for one hour twice a week. The best time for her is between 10-11 PM. Bearing in mind only your internal clock, how well do you think you would perform? My answer: 2. I’d be in reasonable form. I don’t like working out after work. I did a 16-mile run last year after work one night and I felt dreadful when I got home at 11pm.

17. Suppose you can choose your own work hours. Assume that you work a five-hour day (including breaks), your job is interesting, and you are paid based on your performance. At approximately what time would you choose to begin? My answer: 3. I think when it says “5 hours starting between 5 and 2” that would mean I could work 12-5, or 11-4? If it’s literally from 9-2 I don’t think I’d want to do that. I’d have to wake up too early. Oh well. My answer might be wrong. I hope this doesn’t fuck the test up for me.

18. At approximately what time of day do you usually feel your best? My answer: 3. That’s 10 AM until 5 PM. The caffeine helps.

19. One hears about “morning types” and “evening types”. Which one of these types do you consider yourself to be? My answer: 2. Rather more an evening type than a morning type.

Total points for all 19 questions: 45. I hope my math is right. I’m retarded with numbers.

Oh, great. The range from 42-58 means I’m an “intermediate,” which probably ensures there is no “right” answer for how much sleep I should get. I hate being in the middle of all these tests. It’s such a cop-out. Are they designed to make you feel perfectly-fucking-normal? I hate that.

Surprise, surprise, this tests says my sleep onset should occur between 10:45 PM and 12:45 PM. In reality it’s more likely to occur between 12:00 AM and 1:30 AM, but at least I’m in the ballpark. My wake-up time should be between 6:30 AM and 8:30 AM, which isn’t too far off because I wake up at 9 on most non-running work mornings, and as early as 6:30 on run mornings.

In other words, I’ve learned absolutely nothing tonight. FUCK ME.

Blur – Popscene [MP3]


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